A delegation of American Muslims, mostly of non-Arab descent, areÂ headed to the Holy Land this weekend to help Israel end their occupationÂ of Palestine.
The participants, scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem this weekend, areÂ scheduled to hold talks with liberal, right-wing and irreconcilableÂ Zionists from across the political spectrum towards finding anÂ amicable solution.
The MLI program, an intensive leadership development program, is meant to help AmericanÂ Muslims with public profiles and Twitter profiles, understand andÂ learn from Zionism.
In addition to courses on the Zionist narrative,Â they will attend workshops on propaganda, the military industrialÂ complex, and making hummus. Participants would have the option ofÂ paying homage to the founding leaders of Israel, Golda Meir and David Ben-Gurion, orÂ be sent home.
“The Palestinians have proved incapable of representing themselves, and it’s time us western, moderate Muslims spoke up and solved thisÂ issue,” Imam Hikmet Kamil*, Â an organizer with Muslim Leaders for Israel, responsibleÂ for the trip, said.
A participant going on the trip agreed.
“Look, my family is from Pakistan, but I was born and raised inÂ America. I know nothing about Palestine and that’s why I am in theÂ perfect position to negotiate,” Ameera Ali*, a doctor, said.
“I’ve spent hours watching Homeland,” she added, â€œand took an introductory course on the Arab-Israeli conflict in college.â€
For its part, the trip is especially groundbreaking.
While Palestinians from occupied West Bank and Gaza aren’t allowed toÂ travel and pray at the Islamic holy sites, the MLI said the visitorsÂ would not face any such restrictions. In the event they encounterÂ Palestinians in the West Bank, the participants “will be allowed to sitÂ down to tea and provide subjects with rich and vivid descriptions ofÂ Jerusalem’s holy sites.”
The move is part of a new program initiated by Israel, calledÂ Pilgrims Beyond Borders, which is “intended to make Palestinians feelÂ like they were right there with us in al-Aqsa,” MLI said in aÂ statement, leaked to The Daily Vox.
â€œThey will also be given selfie sticks so that they can stuff photos of theirÂ trip into the faces of Palestinians on Facebook,” it said.
Program sponsors have been visionary enough to provide the participants with a ladder in case they encounter the apartheid wall.
This year’s trip comes after the success of last year’s visit by highÂ profile Muslim leaders, thinkers and journalists, also organized by theÂ MLI. That particular trip’s success was exemplified by Israel’s brutalÂ invasion of Gaza that killed 2200 Palestinians, launched just weeksÂ after the trip.
At the time, participants said they didn’t condone the violence metedÂ out on Palestinians, but that “the trip had helped them understand theÂ Zionist fear.”
“It was also really good for our CV’s,” Sarfraz Khan*, said.
MLI and the participants are expected to come under fire for travelingÂ to Israel on a sponsored trip, at a time when Palestinians continue toÂ suffer under the indignity of occupation and just one KFC in Ramallah.
But participants say they have learnt from the mistakes of their predecessors.
“We will tell them [Israel] what they want to hear and then come backÂ and tell people here what they want to hear,” one participantÂ enthused. “It is just good politics.”
Program organizers say that next year they are trying to find moreÂ LGBQT Muslims, in order to assist Israel is its campaign to provide aÂ safe haven for gay Muslims.
Â *Names have been changed out of embarrassment.